TRENTON, N.J.—Mercer County residents and businesses have been declared eligible to register for Individual Assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to federal officials.
The eligibility for FEMA Individual Assistance means homeowners, renters, and business owners whose properties were directly damaged by Nor’easter flooding or storm events on or around March 12 can apply for monetary assistance.
The Mercer County administration and the County Office of Emergency Management worked closely with all 13 municipalities to assess and compile storm damage countywide and submitted those findings to the state. In turn, President Barack Obama recently issued a Presidential Disaster Declaration for 12 New Jersey counties, including Mercer.
“We have been aggressively pursuing eligibility for FEMA assistance, which our residents, businesses and local governments deserve,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “I’m grateful that President Obama recognized that Mercer County was among the counties which was hit hard by the Nor’easter and appreciative of the state’s efforts to help us qualify for federal assistance.”
Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property. Businesses and non-profit organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets.
Affected residents and business owners can begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.disasterassistance.gov or registering by phone at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or 800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing- and speech-impaired.
Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information such as their name, Social Security number, address of the damaged property, phone number, insurance coverage information, description of damages, and other information to help substantiate losses.
Mercer County is working with FEMA to establishment a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in the coming days in order to further assist residents and business owners with the application process.
Individual Assistance, which cannot be guaranteed, can cover reimbursement for a variety of storm-related expenses.
These include, but are not limited to: rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are uninhabitable; grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance; low-interest loans to cover residential losses not fully compensated by insurance; loans up to $1.5 million for small businesses that suffered disaster-related cash flow problems; and loans up to $500,000 for farmers and other agriculture operators to cover property loss.
The declaration this week also allows Mercer’s municipalities and government agencies to register for Public Assistance.
The County is already working with municipal representatives to assist them in filing with FEMA to be reimbursed for costs and damages caused by the Nor’easter, Hughes said. Public Assistance, if awarded, can be used to recover expenses for debris removal, damage to infrastructure, and other government costs.
Mercer County and most of its municipalities suffered at least some storm damage during the Nor’easter and subsequent localized flooding. Storm damage in Mercer is estimated to be millions of dollars.